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Sunday, 16 August 2009 01:00

Film Friendly Hotels

Written by  Jennifer Marino
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Regardless of economical conditions, non-resident film crews always need a place to stay, especially if they’re en route to incentive-enticing faraway lands. While filming in San Diego, the production of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen occupied about 250 rooms at various hotels, and their stay benefited the hotels and the city...


The Palms Hotel & Spa Photo courtesy of The Palms Hotel & Spa


Regardless of economical conditions, non-resident film crews always need a place to stay, especially if they’re en route to incentive-enticing faraway lands. While filming in San Diego, the production of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen occupied about 250 rooms at various hotels, and their stay benefited the hotels and the city. “Productions, such as Transformers, make a huge economic impact in and for San Diego,” explains Film Commissioner Cathy Anderson from the San Diego County Film Commission. “It also allows other filmmakers to see how friendly San Diego is to on-location filming [and] attracting future film productions, and [it] showcases our unique filming opportunities.” When considering lodging, producers tend to look for hotels with the best rates and value. The following film-friendly hotels offer discounts and added hospitality to handle production requests.

The Sutton Place Hotel

As a popular runaway production destination, Toronto, Canada is known as a film-friendly city, so it comes to no surprise that the staff at the Sutton Place Hotel excel in accommodating filmmakers. “There really is no hotel in Toronto that can touch us on the long-standing history we have with the film industry,” says Christopher Ashby, the hotel’s director of sales & marketing. “Not only have we accommodated countless film personalities, we have also played an active role in being home to film festival after film festival. The Toronto International Film Festival started in the hotel, and has today grown to a size [so large] that it demands hotels from the lake all the way up to Bloor Street. The earliest press conferences and junkets were here, and the [Festival] press conferences continue to be here! We are also the principle hotel for the Toronto Jewish Film Festival and Hot Docs. And those are just the big three –– we hold a role in at least a dozen smaller festivals as well.”

The Sutton Place Hotel also offers numerous amenities, such as complimentary Wi-Fi and local calls, monthly parking rates and a sales manager dedicated to serving the market. “We do offer amazing rates that allow low and big budget films alike to be able to utilize our Studio Apartments or our breathtaking Penthouse Suites, [of which] there are two,” adds Ashby.

Ashby reports that the hotel has recently housed many productions, including “Happy Town,”“The Border,” “Being Erica,” “Flashpoint,” “Everything She Ever Wanted,”“The Listener” and Too Late to Say Goodbye. “The reason we have held our spot as a leader in the film and entertainment arena, despite many attempts to claim our spot, is that we offer an environment that is both discrete yet animated, peaceful yet close to the pulse of the city, intimate yet vast in selection and above all, as the old line goes, ‘we get it’ when it comes to catering to the daily demands of a demanding audience,” explains Ashby.

The Palms Hotel & Spa

When it comes to demanding crews, it may be a good idea to pacify them with a freshly renovated hotel. The Palms Hotel & Spa in vibrant Miami Beach, Fla. has recently undergone a lavish makeover. “We have just added an all-new spa [the Palms Spa, an Aveda lifestyle concept] and new restaurant [Essensia Restaurant & Lounge] and enhanced the property throughout, making it extra ideal for photo shoots,” says Heather Zaitz, director of communications for approximately 39 hotels. “The hotel is truly inspired by nature.”

The Palms Hotel & Spa is just 12 miles from Miami International Airport and prides itself on providing a relaxing, tropical atmosphere for guests. The 243-room hotel not only offers luxury for productions, but also discounts on daily location fees, production rooms and room rates. Zaitz mentions that the hotel has handled accommodations for Fox’s “The O.C.” and an ING commercial.

The Georgian Hotel

hThe Georgian Hotel Photo courtesy of The Georgian HotelLos Angeles, the filming capital of the world, became friendlier when the state finally passed production tax incentives in February 2009. Now that the incentives are in effect, there may be more demands to occupy hotels in the Golden State.

The Georgian Hotel can be discovered along the gorgeous beach of Santa Monica, Calif. The historic hotel has handled accommodations for the feature films, like Get Shorty and The Opposite of Sex, and for several TV shows, such as MTV’s “The Hills,” “The Real World” and “Taildaters.”

“Built in 1933, the Georgian Hotel has a distinctive Art Deco architecture which is unique in the Los Angeles area, with its rich history that parallels that of early Hollywood,” says Vanessa Torney, the hotel’s senior sales manager. “The Speakeasy Restaurant is a fabled room that once played host to notorious mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Al Capone, as well as Hollywood legends Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and Fatty Arbuckle.”

Torney also mentions that hotel perks are offered on a case-by-case basis, and a typical inclusion is discounted valet parking. And if a production’s star demands to bring along his or her pesky teacup dog, the pet-friendly Georgian can accommodate for Poochy as well.

The London West Hollywood

Located steps away from the inspiring Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, the London West Hollywood hotel is as posh as the city it occupies. According to Amy Campbell, the hotel’s director of public relations, this fairly new hotel benefits productions by offering a fresh location for filming. “The hotel has been open for just about a year, and we are working to build up our production business,” says Campbell. “It’s a great site for either crew accommodations or onsite location filming. … And our rooftop pool deck is definitely one of the most signature backdrops in West Hollywood.”

The London West Hollywood has hosted film industry events such as “Greening Hollywood,” a seminar advising production personnel on how they can help to preserve the environment. The hotel has also housed film industry professionals, such as the production crew from Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”

“The London West Hollywood offers special production group rates that vary depending on the dates of travel,” Campbell adds. “We do work to stay within the production’s budget for food and beverage, and try to remain competitive with craft service rates. Production groups tend to stay with us for extended periods, so they love the hotel’s large rooms –– from 750 square feet –– and the amenities like laptop-compatible flat-screen televisions, with plugs on top of the desk, complimentary Wi-Fi and 24-hour fitness facilities, [a] business center and concierge access.”

Kapalua Resort

If a production is lucky enough to be stationed in the enchanting island of Maui, then the Kapalua Resort in Lahaina may be worth checking out. According to Dina McCallion, director of sales at Kapalua Resort, the establishment has over 23,000 acres of land, and the surrounding locations include jungles, completely undeveloped white-sand beaches, forests, mountains, valleys, prairies and wooded areas. “We are able to offer deep discounts depending on the scope and breath of a project and utilization of our assets,” says McCallion.

The resort offers a variety of equipment for rent, including off-road vehicles that will come in handy while guests explore the island. Accommodations offer a wide array of luxurious vacation rentals, from the Kapalua Villas (fully equipped with one to three bedrooms perfect for an extended stay) and private estate homes (three to five bedrooms) to the Ritz Carlton, Kapalua’s five-star hotel. “[We also have] many assets to help support any size project, including a large field for a ‘base camp,’ a nursery, off-road equipment, people movers, generators, warehouses and base yards,” boasts McCallion.

Since the Kapalua Resort hasn’t hosted many film productions, aside from small television shows, the surrounding locations and resort area remain almost undiscovered, which may interest filmmakers seeking new Hawaiian locations. McCallion concludes, “[The Kapalua Resort is a] film-friendly destination with not only the convenience of having a variety of site locations and accommodations, but many activities and restaurants so you can really enjoy your downtime too!”

Kapalua Resort

Ritz Carlton

San Diego County Film Office

The Sutton Place Hotel

The Georgian Hotel

The London West Hollywood

The Palms Hotel & Spa

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